Year Of The Dragon: Chinese Horoscope

Gifted with depth and wisdom—and fearsomely hard to read—the mystical, noble Dragon is the only Chinese zodiac sign that’s not an animal.

All about the Year of the Dragon!

Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac

1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Editor’s note: 2024 Is The Year of the Dragon (2024 Horoscope book excerpt)
Year of the Dragon Themes and Horoscopes

The personality of the Dragon in Chinese astrology

Powerful and mystical, Dragons are the only non-animal sign of the Chinese zodiac. They are often misunderstood, even feared. With deep, soulful eyes that speak of many lifetimes, Dragons possess inner wisdom that makes people sit up straight around them. Many Dragons have strong psychic or intuitive powers, and they soak up everything in their environments. They listen more than they talk and really hear what’s being said.

Although their silence can be intimidating, Dragons don’t mean to scare you. They’re just intense. This sign is a natural leader, always ready for battle. Orlando Bloom, a Dragon, was perfectly cast as a warrior in Lord of the Rings. Dragons live to protect their loved ones, and innately sense when someone they care about is being threatened. Keep a Dragon on your good side, and you’ll always have a champion.


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The Dragon is ruled by the planet Mars

Fire-breathing Dragons could only be ruled by the fiercest warrior in our solar system, the planet Mars. The Western astrological pairing with Aries also tracks, especially when you consider the fearless yet fearsome nature of this Chinese zodiac sign. In Western astrology, competitive Aries is always first, the standout solo star. As the only non-animal in the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon fits the bill (even if it happens to be the fifth sign). 

Courageous Mars doesn’t back down from a fight or confrontation. In fact, this planet might even provoke them (though not without the conviction that they’re warding off a potential threat or enemy). At best, Dragons are powerful protectors whose lairs you don’t want to cross without permission. They’ll defend you or their beliefs to the death, which can be valiant in the right circumstances and dangerous in others. Hotheaded Mars is known for a quick and reactive temper.

More than anything, the Dragon is a symbol of vitality and strength, and the “yang” energy that potent Mars also represents. While Dragons are considered lucky, much of that fortune is due to their Mars-fueled health, the life force energy that powers their formidable drive. Some believe that Dragons can be ruthless or greedy, but perhaps this is simply a biased assessment of their yang, turbo-charged thrust from their Mars engine. After all, lucky Dragons are here to provide, and without the stamina and will to produce, how can they fulfill their roles?

The “Animal Planets” (Chinese astrology planetary rulers)

Rat: Jupiter
Ox: Saturn
Tiger: Uranus
Rabbit: Neptune
Dragon: Mars
Snake: Venus
Horse: Mercury
Sheep: Moon
Monkey: Sun
Rooster: Mercury
Dog: Venus
Pig: Pluto

Other traits of the Dragon Chinese astrology sign

Western Sign: Aries

Who is the Dragon compatible with? RatMonkey

Famous Dragons (these celebrities were born in a Year of the Dragon): Rihanna, Adele, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, Orlando Bloom, Eva Mendes, Courteney Cox, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Courtney Love, Blake Shelton, Ryan Reynolds, Ja Rule, Alexander Skarsgard, Shane Dawson, Vanessa Hudgens, Stephen Curry, Emma Stone, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Sandra Bullock, Wendy Williams, Sarah Palin, Hoda Kotb, Don Cheadle, Wanda Sykes, Stephen Colbert, Willow Smith, Addison Rae, Ice Spice, Halle Bailey, Blue Ivy Carter

The 5 Elements of Chinese Astrology

The Chinese zodiac is divided into five key elements of nature, or Wu Xing: wood, water, metal, fire and earth. Each lunar year is governed by a different element.

Years Ending in are ruled by:
0-1: Metal
2-3: Water
4-5: Wood
6-7: Fire
8-9: Earth

Years of the Dragon and their element

1928: Earth Dragon
1940: Metal Dragon
1952: Water Dragon
1964: Wood Dragon
1976: Fire Dragon
1988: Earth Dragon
2000: Metal Dragon
2012: Water Dragon
2024: Wood Dragon

Not a Dragon? Find your Chinese zodiac sign and element using the calculator below:

Find your Chinese Zodiac sign

Calculate your lunar year zodiac sign + element here!

Find your Chinese/lunar year zodiac sign

Learn which animal archetype ruled over the 12-month lunar year that you were born:

Find our elemental year (metal, water, wood, fire or earth)

Every decade is divided into two-year blocks, each ruled by an element:

The Chinese zodiac sign that governs your birth year can tell you a lot about your personality, interests, romantic compatibility and career path. Learn more about your Chinese zodiac in the Chinese astrology section of Astrostyle.

Feature art by Rosie Dienhart


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See Another Chinese Horoscope Sign

Chinese zodiac illustrations by The Grande Dame.


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Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.